WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, today spoke on the Senate floor to urge the Senate to pass long overdue, bipartisan legislation that would set the United States Postal Service on a more sustainable financial footing and support the goal of providing long-term reliable service across the country. Peters is leading the bill in the Senate and has secured significant bipartisan support with a total of fourteen Democratic and fourteen Republican cosponsors currently backing the legislation. The legislation passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support last week.
“This is bipartisan, this is common sense. It addresses a critical issue for the American people, and they want us to come together and solve it. But instead, we have a procedural blocking technique to slow this down. And every day we wait, it puts the Postal Service in more jeopardy. It's time for action,” said Senator Peters on the floor. “Let's stop playing games. Let's help the Postal Service. Let's help the American people and let's show that the United States Senate knows how to get a job done.”
To watch video of Senator Peters’ remarks, click here.
The Postal Service Reform Act would provide key financial and operational reforms to the United States Postal Service. The bill would eliminate the onerous prefunding requirement that has hurt the Postal Service financially, and integrate postal worker retirees’ health care with Medicare. Together, these two reforms would create more than $49 billion in savings for the Postal Service over the next ten years. In addition, the bill would require the Postal Service to maintain its standard of delivering at least six days a week. The legislation would improve transparency of Postal Service operations to both customers and Congress by requiring the publication of easily accessible local weekly service data on the Postal Service website, as well as regular and detailed reporting to Congress on Postal Service finances and operations. The bill also includes additional provisions for Postal Service effectiveness, accountability and growth.
Peters has fought to protect the Postal Service and its 245-year tradition of mail delivery. In 2020, Peters secured a $10 billion direct payment to help the Postal Service recover from pandemic-related losses. He also conducted an investigation into operational changes at the Postal Service in 2020 that resulted in significant delays. Following Peters’ investigation, the Postal Service reversed many of these changes and service has significantly improved.
Below is a rough transcript of Senator Peters’ remarks:
“I stand in support of this bill, this bill is absolutely essential to make sure that the Postal Service is on sound financial footing. As Leader Schumer mentioned, Americans all across our country rely on the Postal Service to deliver critical items to their home – things like medicines – which go via the Postal Service.
“They expect that service to provide it six days a week and to do it on time. But unfortunately, the Postal Service has been saddled with rules that make it very, very difficult. The legislation before us is an attempt to fix those rules that make it more difficult for the Postal Service to deliver essential services and do it in a cost effective way. It is something that has been discussed here in Congress for a decade or more. A decade or more. This is not an issue that just came out of nowhere. This is something we've been trying to fix for nearly a decade. Over the last year and a half, we have been working on bipartisan, bicameral legislation bringing people together and saying let's just focus on what is common sense.
“And let's see what is common sense? Right now the Postal Service has to pre-fund retirement health care for decades, no other company in America needs to do that. No other federal agency in the government does that. No one does it – but the Postal Service is saddled with this requirement, which is tens of billions of dollars.
“It's common sense to treat the Postal Service like every other business and every other government agency in federal government. Also, it makes sense to have a retirees integrated into Medicare. Like every single company in America, it will be integrated into Medicare. And, let's be clear, those postal workers have been paying into Medicare their whole working career, they're paying into Medicare. They should have the ability to actually get Medicare.
“This will also help the Postal Service be able to function in an efficient and effective way. The bipartisan, bicameral work that we did – I worked with my Ranking Member, Senator Portman. We’ve been working with our counterparts in the House – both Democratic Chair and Republican Ranking Member – came up with an agreement that got wide consensus from folks throughout Congress.
“In fact, the bill that I introduced here in the Senate, which is basically the bill that is before us from the House, has twenty-eight cosponsors. Fourteen Republicans, fourteen Democrats. How many bills do we have here on the floor that have that much support from both sides?
“This is bipartisan, this is common sense. It addresses a critical issue for the American people, and they want us to come together and solve it. But instead, we have a procedural blocking technique to slow this down.
“And every day we wait, it puts the Postal Service in more jeopardy. It's time for action now.
“As the Leader mentioned, since 2000, there have been similar kinds of mistakes by the transfer of a bill. Five times in 20 years. And every time it's been settled quickly, because people say it’s just a mistake, let's move on with the business of the people. Let's not play games.
“I would hope we could do that now. Five times it went quickly. In fact, three of those times, the bills that came over had less bipartisan support then this bill. This bill had 120 Republicans support it in the House.
“It is time to move this forward. Let's stop playing games. Let's help the Postal Service. Let's help the American people and let's show that the United States Senate knows how to get a job done.”